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The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt
Before Jon-Jon Goulian was a "cross-dressing literary hipster," as Rolling Stone put it, he was an awkward, frightened kid with some serious insecurities, thanks to his high-achieving family members. Goulian opens up about it with his first book, The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt (Random House, $25), an honest, funny, look at how the little moments in childhood influence how interesting we can become as adults. -- Michelle Garcia

Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotic
One of the most invisible groups of people in the literary cannon of erotica has to be transgender folks. Sure, porn sensationalizes and objectifies pre-op trans women's lives (one of the best selling categories of pornography is called "she-male" porn, which tells you how progressive its creators really aren't). But in reality, very little has been written about trans individuals in a way that eroticizes without exploiting their lives, their minds, and their bodies. In Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica (Cleis Press, $15) editor Tristan Taormino has pulled together a number of writers, trans and otherwise, to create a collection of erotica that shows trans and gender variant people as desirable. In a collection of erotica that is by, for, and about anyone who challenges or defies rigid gender constructions, whether they ID as transgender, genderqueer, or somewhere else on that spectrum, the stories are expectedly about bucking traditions -- but whether it's about fumbling teenage sex or butt plugs and bondage tables, they are ultimately about sex. Patrick Califia (the legendary queer and trans author of numerous tomes), S. Bear Berman, Ivan Coyote, Julia Serano, Laura Antoniou (whose Marketplace series is still one of the finest S/M books out there), Helen Boyd (who has written non-fiction about her transgender wife in She's Not the Man I Married) and more contribute. A must-read for anyone who loves erotica or trans people. -- Diane Anderson-Minshall

The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder
A harrowing memoir of abuse and personal redemption, Olga Trujillo's The Sum of My Parts (New Harbinger, $19) documents the abuse of a young girl at the hands of her father and brothers (both physical and sexual). The events of Trujillo's childhood caused her to develop Disassociative Identity Disorder, where her mind created alternate personalities to deal with the abuse. Trujillo, a lesbian lawyer living in Wisconsin, chronicles her terrifying but inspiring fight against her demons and Dissociative Disorder. This powerful book is not for the faint of heart. -- Neal Broverman

Ruling with a Sequined Fist: The Gay Handbook
If you're a gay newbie trying to navigate your way though a word that is probably gayer than you are (at least at this point), you'll need to know what shimmers and what stains. So says Dan Saniski, author of Ruling with a Sequined Fist: The Gay Handbook (Lulu, $15). Whether you're a muscular jock who loves using the word "bro " or a leather enthusiast, this book has something you can work with as you find yourself a place on the gay social spectrum. As Saniski says, "You may be born gay, but fabulous takes work." Ruling with a Sequined Fist is not only a fun read, it will help you put your fiercest face forward. --Winston Gieseke

Murder Unleashed
Rita Mae Brown's Murder Unleashed (Ballantine Books, $15), the sequel to her New York Times bestseller A Nose for Justice, takes readers into a world of mystery and anticipation, and the quirky relationships of humans and canines. In this hilariously suspenseful story, Mags Rogers and her wire-haired dachshund sidekick Baxter are teaming up with Mags' great aunt Jeep and German shepherd, King, to save the houseless families of Reno, NV. Even if you don't think animal companions are as precious as Brown's fans do, you've got to give props to Brown, the author of numerous crime novels (some, indeed, co-authored with her cat), screenplays, and the seminal lesbian novel, 1973's Rubyfruit Jungle. -- Andi Alexander
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